Everybody loves a good career relaunch success story, and today I’m sharing the story of career relauncher Jolie Taylor. She’s a Senior Financial Analyst at RTI, who happens to be the gold sponsor of the Back to Business Women’s Conference in 2022.
Jolie spent 8 years as a SAHM and has lots of great advice for women restarting their careers. Her story highlights what a fantastic employer RTI is, and how their respect for a diverse workforce has made them a welcoming place for women like Jolie who are embarking on a career relaunch. She also points out the value of maintaining professional connections while you’re out of the workforce and the value of part-time work as an on-ramp back into the workforce when you are ready to relaunch your career.
Enjoy reading this success story, and register for the Back to Business Women’s Conference on 9/23 if you’d like to meet RTI. They’ll be hosting the first session of the day during the conference and you’ll have an opportunity to meet their recruiters “in person” during the networking breakout session. These are the types of personal connections that get you on a company’s radar!
Here’s my Q&A with Jolie:
What type of work did you do before you took a break?
I’ve always worked in information technology and finance. I worked at Travelers Insurance in Hartford, CT, for six years and then moved to NC to escape the cold weather. My sister-in-law lived in Raleigh at the time, giving us an anchor when we moved here. I found a job working for Qualex in Durham which at the time was the photofinishing subsidiary of Kodak. I’ve worked on various systems projects or in budgeting and financial reporting for my whole career.
How long was your career break? What did you do during that time?
After two years at Qualex, I took about 8 years off after my first daughter was born. I very much wanted to be a stay-at-home mom and I was lucky to be able to do so. My husband and I went on to have two more children, a son and another daughter, so life was busy taking care of the kids when they were little.
I also obtained a couple of professional certifications at the time, as an off-ramp from working full-time and I worked for Barnes & Noble bookstore a couple of nights a week. I still maintain the CMA (certified management accountant) certification. Prior to working at RTI International, I also worked part-time for two years doing bookkeeping from home for a neighbor who had his own business.
What is your job now?
I work at RTI International on the FP&A (financial planning and analysis) team in one of our business units. Over the years I’ve specialized in report writing and financial analysis. Being a subject matter expert on our business intelligence reporting tool was a role that worked well and provided a good work life balance. I am currently working on a project with a large cross functional RTI team and external partners to upgrade and modernize our financial systems.
How did you find your job?
I kept in touch with one of the managers that I worked for at Qualex simply by sending a holiday card and letter each year. She was working at RTI at the time and reached out to me when she noted that I had started working part-time. We got to talking, and she connected me with some of her coworkers for an interview.
What do you like about RTI?
RTI is an independent nonprofit research institute dedicated to improving the human condition, which is a wonderful mission. I’ve met some of the smartest and hardest working people at RTI and have had great managers over the years. Working at RTI has helped me work to be a better person both personally and professionally and has prompted me to keep up with technology changes!
How did you know you were ready to go back to work and relaunch your career?
My youngest daughter was starting kindergarten and I felt like I would have more time to commit to working. I knew I wanted to feel like I was contributing more to our family’s financial future. My mom also was a working mom and went back to work when I went to kindergarten and my parents modeled a similar two-working-parent-household, so it seemed like the right timing.
What’s been the biggest adjustment about returning to work?
Entering a new chapter in life always comes with rough patches as you adjust to new habits and routines. It was hard not to be immediately available for my kids’ every request, but my husband is a great partner in that regard. He helped pick up some of those responsibilities such as sharing the rides to various after-school practices, doctor’s appointments and helping with dinners.
In other cases, the kids learned to be more independent and figure out things for themselves. I think this helped them become better individuals too. Later I looked back and saw how both my family and I had grown.
What advice do you have for other career relaunchers?
You can take it slow and start something part-time. I found that during the two years I worked part-time before RTI, I learned some concepts in that job that carried forward into the concepts I then needed to learn at RTI. It was interesting to see how the dots connected when I look back.
Why do you think RTI has been such an ideal partner and so supportive of Back to Business for many years now?
RTI is very supportive of a diverse workplace and knows that diversity makes for better teams. There are many moms and parents that work at RTI. They are always looking at unique ways to recruit candidates for job openings. The same manager I kept in touch with all those years ago is also one of the supporters of Back to Business as well.
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